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Summary: What will make our nation great once again?

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Signs of a Great Nation

Introduction:

What makes a nation great?

Some would say a booming economy. Some would say a great government. Some would say a strong military. However, I want us to see today three things in the word of God that I believe make a nation great.

I. A Great Nation Is A Grateful Nation (Deuteronomy 6:12)

It is gratitude that prompted an old man to visit an old broken pier on the eastern seacoast of Florida. Every Friday night, until his death in 1973, he would return, walking slowly and slightly stooped with a large bucket of shrimp. The sea gulls would flock to this old man, and he would feed them from his bucket.

Many years before, in October, 1942, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was on a mission in a B-17 to deliver an important message to General Douglas MacArthur in New Guinea. But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life. Somewhere over the South Pacific the Flying Fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, so the men ditched their plane in the ocean. For nearly a month Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun. They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant harks rammed their rafts. The largest raft was nine by five. The biggest shark_ten feet long. But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred.

In Captain Eddie’s own words, "Cherry," that was the B-17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, "read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off." Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking_" Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a sea gull. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew. Everyone else knew too. No one said a word, but peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at that gull. The gull meant food_if I could catch it." And the rest, as they say, is history. Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten. Its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice. You know that Captain Eddie made it. And now you also know_that he never forgot. Because every Friday evening, about sunset_on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast_you could see an old man walking_white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, slightly bent. His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls_to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle_like manna in the wilderness.

We must remember that the reason America has been the great nation that it has is because God has blessed us and thank Him for all of our blessings.


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